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Frequently Asked Questions

Have any questions about our China & Asia verification services? Here are some of the questions we are asked most frequently
I hear so many negative stories about sourcing in China – does it even pay off to try to set up anything there?

Well, obviously yes, it does. The proof is in the pudding, and as so many others continue to manufacture in China, you can draw the conclusion that yes, it’s worthwhile. Being cheated can happen anywhere on earth, and it’s certainly not unique to China or Asia. However, when dealing in China/Asia, you do need to watch out for tell tale signs specific to China, as opposed to Romania or Ecuador for example. So if you have planned and prepared well, and have ensured you have the necessary skills available to you either in-house or externally, entering China (both as a sourcing country and also as a destination for selling your merchandise) can be a very lucrative.

I have purchased a product in China, and I have received an invoice for the first installment from the vendor, which is now due. When attempting to make the transfer, I realised that the bank account is located in Hong Kong, but the factory is located in China. Does that sound right?

Well, that depends on the agreement you have. In China it is quite common to have an entity based in Hong Kong receive the payment as a middle man. This Hong Kong entity could even be owned by the factory itself.

What you should make sure is that you are buying from whomever receive the money transfer, and that the bank account is a corporate account rather than a personal account.

We can help you verify the nature of the bank account prior to the transfer, so that you are certain that you are not transferring your money out of reach to the wrong entity, or even to a private individual.

How can I be certain the overseas factory I’m choosing to work with will deliver on what they’ve promised?

Like any business relationship, it’s difficult to feel 100% certain that everything will go perfectly. But when there are thousands of kilometres between you and them – and they operate in a completely different cultural, commercial and legal environment – the possibility of problems and miscommunications increases exponentially.

The best way to combat this is by doing as much checking as possible before committing to the deal. That’s where we can help. With many years of experience in risk mitigation and compliance in a variety of offshore manufacturing facilities, we know what to look for and what questions to ask.

Our services include background checks of companies, inspection services, social compliance audits, factory verification and we also verify certification. In taking advantage of our expertise, you can feel more confident that you are doing everything you can to mitigate supply chain risk.

How is Vantage different to an agent?

It’s fairly common for agents who source overseas factories on behalf of customers to receive remuneration from more than just their clients.

At Vantage, we’re different because we only have one source of income – and that’s the payment we receive from you. Our advice is completely transparent, and our recommendation of a factory is based solely on our opinion of their operating practices and their capacity to fulfill your order to agreed-upon specifications.

We’re proud to be independent, as we believe this is the only way to ensure that the factories we recommend are honest and reliable for you to deal with.

So if you ask us for help with, for example, finding a Chinese factory that will be reliable to work with, you know you can depend on our advice and recommendation.

The factory I’m thinking of using says it has ISO certification. Isn’t that evidence that they’ll be good to deal with?

Unfortunately, no. In some parts of the world, it is it reasonably easy for factories to obtain certification from non-credible providers.

That’s why we verify certification as one of our services, which means we check the credentials of the ISO issuing authority. If required, we offer factory inspection services to seek further proof that the factory’s practices line up with the certification they claim to hold.

I found a company on Alibaba that seems to supply very high quality at really excellent prices. Are they fake?

Well, it’s difficult to say if they are fake or not, but by verifying them first, you will have a better idea. We offer a factory verification service that includes a background check on the company along with checks on factory certification provided by prospective suppliers.

I purchased a 20” container full of textile products in China, and what I received I couldn't even sell. What can I do to get a refund?

Unfortunately you don’t have much recourse for that. If you do try to pursue compensation, it’s likely to waste a lot of your time and lead to a dead end. Prevention is much better than cure – so if you want to know how to find a good supplier in China in the future, we recommend you arrange a business verification so you reduce the risk of something like this happening again.

I purchased a load of automotive parts, and the manufacturer never sent me the TS 16949 certificate prior to shipping. He has finally sent me the certificate, but it’s issued in a different company name. Is it still valid for my product?

Probably not. The certificate has to be issued for the same manufacturer from whom you purchased. In cases like this, we recommend arranging to verify certification prior to releasing any funds, so you can save yourself the hassle of importing a non-compliant product. Alternatively, you can have the received goods checked with a local testing facility, but that will not be cheap.

Isn’t it too expensive to check/verify my suppliers in China or elsewhere?

Well, it’s also expensive not to check. Just ask anyone who’s struck a problem with importing goods from China and then spent fruitless months (or more) in trying to fix it without success. So the key is to strike the right balance. Verifying your suppliers goes a long way towards minimising or avoiding the big headaches that can happen when things go wrong with getting goods made in China.

Isn’t it better to save money on the initial company verification and jump straight to the on-site audit?

Well, if the process is that advanced, you might do that. However, if you skip the initial factory verification steps, you might find yourself having spent thousands of dollars on an on-site audit, which you might have to repeat with a new supplier. If you take the first steps first, you can save later on on-site audit costs.

Why does checking matter? We can’t do anything about the results anyway. We will just find another supplier if there is a problem.

The problems you can encounter as a result of not doing a factory check can be huge. For instance, the factory may not really exist and you’ve just entrusted your order (and money) to a phantom operator. So in that scenario, you lose money and also your reputation with your customers by failing to meet your delivery deadline. There are also potential problems with the factory not being able to meet your quality, social and environmental responsibility standards – which can also land your business in hot water.  By checking at the outset, you can save yourself a lot of hassle, time and money when it comes to manufacturing overseas.  So, isn’t it better to know from the start?

If I engage you, isn’t it simply going to increase my price by several percent, eating away at my profit margin?

Well, by not doing a factory check you might totally miss out on any profit margin you had expected.  We believe that a factory verification is simply a smart business decision that helps mitigate risk when dealing with an overseas supplier. This makes it a transaction cost, which – similar to an insurance policy – you hope you never need.

If you don’t do a factory verification and the deal goes sour, you not only lose your re-invested profits from previous import batches, but you also lose out on the profits by not being able to sell the newest batch.

How long does it take you to produce a China factory verification report?

Well, it depends on the complexity of the job assigned. Our basic China factory check reports are usually delivered to you in 24-48 hours, while more complex tasks might take up to 5-7 working days.

What happens if you find that the company I search for isn’t registered/isn’t licensed for the scope of business they say, etc.?

Well, that’s exactly the purpose of the factory verification service. So confirming if a company exists or not, or if they are allowed to supply a given type of product – both possible answers (yes or no) are a result.

What happens to my order, if I have chosen a more comprehensive service and it appears that the company doesn't exist? Do I still have to pay for upgraded/add-on services?

In such a case, we will fully credit you the difference between a basic business verification and whichever upgrade option you have purchased. You can choose either a refund, or to use the credit against future services with us.

Why can’t I go directly to the certificate issuer/business registry in China and confirm this information myself?

Well, of course you can do this.  However, there are thousands of certification issuers worldwide, and they all offer different levels of attention to non-paying customers’ request for information (and wildly varying response times).  On top of this, you would have to navigate Chinese government bureaucracy (in Chinese) before you could produce an outcome. We are experts with technical knowledge as well as native language capability. As a result, we take the hassle out of the equation. Avoid the frustrations and leave the business of verification to us. We will get you the information you need, and within a shorter timeframe too.

How is your service different to other services out there?

Our services offer the added advantage of cross platform searches, and we cover the full spectrum of supply chain risk mitigation and compliance. We are also independent and transparent in our dealings – unlike some service providers who are paid commissions by the factories they recommend to customers.

Can I upgrade to a higher service level after ordering a service with you?

Yes, you sure can. Simply purchase the new and higher-level service, and we will simply charge you the difference.

Where does the information come from?

To help our clients to mitigate risk when manufacturing overseas, we source the information from a variety of sources. This includes official websites, government sources, trusted third party sources, lawyers, phone calls and in some cases, by personal attendance at relevant local government offices (where record keeping isn’t yet digitized/digitally accessible). The method we apply depends on the service level you choose.

For how long do you guarantee the results you provide?

It depends on the service you purchase. But generally speaking, a verification of a business registration might be valid until the business registration expires. However, if for example, we are checking to confirm there are no legal proceedings against a particular company (i.e. whether they are undergoing bankruptcy proceedings or other detrimental legal processes), we can only guarantee it at the moment of checking/searching. Similar for on-site factory audits – these are essentially momentary snapshots of the situation – and therefore they are only valid for a short period of time. Full and total guaranteed results require permanent presence on-site, which is too costly, and would generally mean overdoing things.

When you are doing a background check of the company, will they know they are being looked up?

No, generally speaking, they will not. We research companies discreetly, and anonymously. And we don’t get in touch with the company itself, unless that is part of the brief.

I didn't receive my report. Where is it?

Unless something came up preventing us from sending it to you (in which case we would have notified you beforehand), we would have sent it to you within the agreed timeframe. Please ensure that your email spam filter isn’t preventing delivery.

What payment methods do you accept?

We can accept direct transfer, credit card payment and PayPal.

Why should I choose you?

Because we offer you access to our extensive and specialised experience in this field. We know what is going on when it comes to manufacturing in China and in other offshore locations. We therefore understand that foreign businesses need assurance that they are not being cheated. We are on your side.

Our services are fact and systems based, and delivered with a customer focus.

With a presence in Hong Kong and a network of affiliates, we cover all of China as well as other parts of Asia and beyond.

If you would like to know more, you can download the first 2 chapters of our founder’s book on China “Shanghai’ed – things that can go wrong when buying in China”, to get a feel for his expertise in supply chain risk mitigation in China.

You can also visit our blog to get a better understanding.

If you have further questions in relation to manufacturing overseas, we’re here to help. Contact us today for more information.

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